Saturday, November 12, 2011

Baking Weck Rolls on a Sunny Saturday in November

There is something about fall that makes me go into full blown nesting mode. I don't know if it is the crisp weather, the approaching holidays, or what, but I find myself in a happy frenzy of cooking, baking and cleaning.

Although I like to think I'm a pretty good cook, I've never been much of a baker.  Cooking is about color, texture and flavor, elements you can play around with, sort of like painting a picture. Once you know the rules, you are free to break them. Baking, on the other hand, is all about chemistry and science. The rules are the rules, period.

But not having a natural talent for something has never stopped me before, so I decided to jump in and give bread baking a try. After a little online searching I found a recipe for German Weck rolls (short for kummelweck) that seemed to fit the bill. Here is a link to the recipe I used.

I have a stand mixer of indeterminate age (we'll call it "vintage" to be kind) that my mom found for me at a garage sale. It was top of the line in its day and still has the dough hooks with it. This is important, because it takes a lot of the labor out of kneading the dough.

The dough hooks hard at work kneading the dough so I didn't have to
Once the dough was kneaded, I put it aside in a bowl to rest. There was no rest for me, though. I had to clean up all the flour that somehow got all over the kitchen during the mixing.

After about an hour the ball of dough had doubled in size.

The dough about 15 minutes before it was done rising.
When the dough reached the top of the bowl I punched it down, then left it to rise again for another 45 minutes.

Next, I shaped the dough into rosettes. I did it by rolling a ball of dough into a long snake, then tying a knot in it. One end of the knot gets tucked under, the other over.
Half the shaped rolls went into the freezer for later in the week.

The rest of the rolls were left to rise prior to baking.
Once the shaped rolls had risen sufficiently, it was time for a light brush of egg wash, a quick sprinkle of seeds or salt, then into the oven.

I think the finished product came out pretty good for a first try, if I do say so myself.

Hot and crusty fresh from the oven
Beef Burgundy is simmering in the crock pot as I type this. Something tells me these rolls are gonna go pretty darn quick . . .

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